Trey Bundy: And, it's a risk they took again in Irwin's next case. They've made a business decision not to produce these documents, and that case got terminated too. And it's on appeal. Trey Bundy: It looked like this was their game plan. Hide the child abuse files at any cost. If necessary, pay millions of dollars in judgments, but don't let anyone see the documents. Then, something kind of unbelievable happened. The Jehovah's Witnesses gave in. In Irwin's next case, they agreed to hand over the documents. They'd finally cracked, and Irwin would get the files. But when they started rolling in, something was wrong.
The names of all the alleged abusers were blacked out. And, Irwin only got four years of documents. There were another 15 years he was supposed to get. He went back to the judge, who demanded that the Jehovah's Witnesses turn over all the documents with the names. They refused. They're a multi-billion-dollar corporation. So maybe millions in damages doesn't scare them.
I think that on some level they're aiding and abetting these perpetrators. It's a public safety issue. I mean at this point, this needs to be investigated. Trey Bundy: Irwin isn't giving up. But he has hit a wall. This is a guy who for years has wanted nothing more than to expose the Jehovah's Witnesses' child abuse files, and now that he's finally got some of them, he's legally bound to hide them from the public. From me. A while back, he called me after work to tell me how his cases were going.
He said it was getting to him that he was sitting on so much horrible information. So many documents describing the abuse of children. Irwin Zalkin: It's frustrating. It's very frustrating to have seen what I've seen and to know what is going on in this institution, in this organization. It's very frustrating when I've got a gag in my mouth, you know?
It's pretty hard. You know we're trying our best to expose this truth, and they're doing everything they can to interfere with that effort, you know, to block that effort. Right now, Irwin has 18 lawsuits pending against the Jehovah's Witnesses. And he's back in court on the Jose Lopez case. An appeals court ruled that the judge should not have kicked the Jehovah's Witnesses out of court without trying a less extreme method for getting the child abuse documents.
Irwin still wants those files. And so do we. We'll get back to that later in the show, but first, how can a religion with 8 million members keep everyone quiet about child abuse? I had been told through the whole proceedings, "Don't speak of this. It's a confidential matter. The congregation doesn't need to know this, and if you talk about it, that's grounds for disfellowshipping. Hey there. Julia B. Chan here, Reveal's Digital Editor. It's that time again, when we start looking back at the year behind us and start making lists.
Right now, I'm working on collecting people's favorite stories and moments from Reveal. And that includes you. We want to hear from you, the person listening to us right now. Which of our stories really affected or outraged you this year? Was there a scene that you just can't shake, a moment that stuck with you? We want to hear it. Go to revealnews. Again that's revealnews. For the past two years, Reveal reporter Trey Bundy has been trying to break through the wall of secrecy built up by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The group collects and maintains a database that could contain the names of thousands of child abusers. We haven't found one single case where the leaders of the religion have reported even one of those allegations to the police, so what happens to those children when they do come forward?
Often, years later when they're adults. She says a Jehovah's Witness elder abused her from age 8 to 13, and when she was older, he kicked her out of the congregation. It's called disfellowshipping. When that happens, you're dead to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Everyone shuns you, even your closest family members, and it's that threat of shunning that keeps people from reporting child abuse, but not Debbie.
She came forward with her story. Here's Trey. Debbie grew up in Houston. Narrator 1: NASA, and by all accounts, was a brilliant engineer. Narrator 1: He helped design and build the spacecraft that put Neil Armstrong in the moon. Debbie: When he met Jehova's Witnesses and thought he had found a true religion, and the world was ending any time. He just walked away from his career. Narrator 1: Wendell moved Debbie ad the rest of the family to McAlester, Oklahoma, where he quickly rose through the ranks at the local kingdom hall. That's the place of worship for Jehova's Witnesses.
Wendell became the number two guy, and the number one guy was an elder named Ronnie Lawrence. Narrator 1: But Debbie told me, when she was eight years old, Ronnie started abusing her. The abuse went on for five years. She didn't tell anyone about it, but she did get angry. She told me how when she was a teenager, she started drinking and having sex. When Ronnie found out about it, he decided to disfellowship her for sexual immorality. At that point, Debbie told her mom for the first time that Ronnie had abused her. I find it funny that a man who messed with me my whole life, my whole childhood, is now in a position to disfellowship me from the organization.
And my mom was furious, livid, she said, "You're going to lie about this man of God now? Being thrown out of the congregation was terrifying for Debbie like it is for many witnesses. She was completely isolated from her friends and family. She thought her eternal soul was on the line. Debbie: Just trying to adjust to life outside the organization was too much for me, and I just wanted back in. To get back in, she had to write a letter of apology to the elders, including Ronnie.
She was also dealing with something else. She knew she was a lesbian, but she had to bury that part of herself. She married a witness and had a kid. She threw everything she had into the orGanization. Debbie: Door to door, study for the meetings, make every meeting. I was going to be the best Jehova's Witness I could be. A decade passes, and other people in Debbie's congregation have started to come forward saying Ronnie abused them, too.
I've looked at letter from elders to the Watchtower and they show that Ronnie was disfellowshipped. He repented and was welcomed back on the condition that he named all of his victims and write them letters of apology. Debbie: So he says, "Debbie, I humbly want to apologize for the hurt and pain I have caused you, and for denying it.
I have truly sinned against you, Jehova and the congregation. I betrayed the trust-". It was hard for Debbie to be around them, and she worried about other kids in the congregation. She says the elder told her to drop it and keep quiet. Debbie: Because I have been told due the whole proceedings with Ronnie, "Don't speak of this, it's a confidential matter, the congregation doesn't need to know this, and if you talk about it, that's grounds for disfellowshipping.
Narrator 1: Eventually, Debbie couldn't take it anymore. She left her marriage and was disfellowshipped again, this time for coming out as gay. And that's when the shunning got really bad. Her daughter Marley was 12 years old, and got caught in a nasty custody battle between her parents. Marley says her dad and Debbie's family coached her on what to say in text messages to her mom. Yeah, they used to sit me down, and actually tell me what to say or text me something and say, just to copy and paste it and send it to her. Debbie: This text message came from Marley, and she said, "You want to know why I'm devastated?
I lost my mother and my best friend. You turn aside men, you're going to die. Marley: I thought that there would come a point when God would judge us all, and then The shunning and harassment got so intense that Debbie finally went to the police about it. Her whole story came pouring out.
The police had never been informed about Ronnie's abuse of children. They started an investigation, and there was a hearing. And at that hearing, Debbie says the shunning continued. She remembers going into the courtroom, and her parents were sitting behind Ronnie, on his side. Debbie: They wouldn't look my direction. Even when I was speaking on the stand, I looked out and my mother and dad wouldn't look at me in the face. The charges against Ronnie Lawrence were dismissed because of the statute limitations. The court records and letters from McAlester elders to the Watchtower back up Debbie's story.
Ronnie's still a Jehova's Witness. But there are a lot of people in this town that believe that you did commit these crimes. Ronnie Lawrence: laughs no, I didn't, tha-that's [inaudible ] blame me [inaudible ] anyone else, so. Narrator 1: No, there's a lot of documentation. Why did you write letters of apology if you didn't commit these crimes? Ronnie Lawrence: It had to do with several times, but I-. Narrator 1: Was a part of it getting back in the organization? Was that part of the condition of coming back to the organization?
Narrator 1: Debbie has built a new life, but she keeps a permanent record of the past. Debbie: My daughter Marley was so attached to the organization, and so I did attach [inaudible ] her with holding a mace behind her, and it felt like she was trying to come out of the organization, but the mace was the organization, and she was hanging on to it. So I added that. But Marley has come out of the organization. She and Debbie have reunited, and they live together now. But since they've become close again. The Witnesses have started to shun Marley, too.
Well, obviously, all my friends were And then, the rest of my family has pretty much blocked me on social media. Things like that. You can't live and not be deemed too mentally diseased, I guess. So, something has to be wrong with you. Have to make up something. Debbie and Marley have experienced what it's like to be shun by the Jehova's Witnesses, but the religion also shuts out the world at large, which makes it tough to find out how they operate. But Tray's been trying to figure that out. So, he went to their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, what they call the Watchtower.
Narrator 1: Hello, this is Tray. Hi, who am I speaking with? Hey, Bryce, how you doing? Narrator 2: Tray's in the lobby of the Watchtower talking to Bryce, a public relations guy there. He wouldn't even come down to talk to him. Narrator 2: He's asking to interview someone from the governing body. They're the seven men who run the religion. Together, they're the equivalent of the Pope in the Catholic church. Narrator 1: You know, this has been more than a year that I've been trying to contact someone from the governing body, get some type of interview, get any type of Watchtower official to say anything on the record about this issue, and to be frank, it kind of amazes me that Jehova's Witnesses aren't willing to express their own outrage that the Watchtower is shielding child sexual abuses from exposure or prosecution.
Am I wasting my time by trying to get your side of the story? Even after decades of child abuse allegations around the world, these guys won't denounce the problem. This is one of the most insular religions in the world. They don't want their members to go to college, or even to watch mainstream media. We want to know more about who they are and how they operate, so we asked a former insider to be our guy. In my family, it was the only religion that was viewed as the right religion. It was the truth, they called it the truth. Narrator 2: Howie Trend is 40 years old now.
He lived and worked at the Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn for seven years, starting when he was a teen. Tray tells us how he got there, and why he eventually left. Howie grew up in Ward, Arkansas, in a poor family of Jehova's Witnesses. He was always a small kids, and he would get bullied a lot. Things got worse when he turned His parents split, and that's also when his mom discovered something he was hiding.
Howie Trend: I come home from school, and my mom is visibly upset, and I find out that she discovered my porno magazine under my bed. Howie Trend: There could be nothing worse that can happen to a year-old closetted gay kid from Ozark Mountains than your mother to discover that you have homosexual tendencies. And I'm just I'm mortified. I'm so ashamed, and I just immediately break down in tears.
Howie's mom was mortified, too. She drove into his grandmother's house. His uncle, who is an elder in a local Jehova's Witness congregation, was also there. Howie Trend: And my shame is laid bare. The magazine is there, and yes, I took it. I took it. Yes, I hid it. I tried to hide it.
Narrator 1: The family told Howie that his homosexuality was a sickness. A spiritual disease. Trey Bundy: Homosexuality was a sickness. Howie: That's the idea, that if I applied myself, I could overcome this. I could cure myself of this problem. Trey Bundy: Howie's uncle suggested that he could stop fantasizing about men by using a calendar to track how often he masturbated. Howie: On that calendar you would mark when you relapsed, and then hopefully the amount of days between that relapse and the next relapse would be greater.
It always had to be greater. Of course, you always hope that the last time is the last time, but of course it never was. Howie: I felt that I was corrupted. I felt that there was something terribly wrong with me. I was ashamed. I wished I was dead. You don't know how much I wished I could have killed myself. I did. I sat once on the floor of my bathroom with a bottle of bleach. I tried my best to get myself to drink that damn bottle of bleach. That's the truth. I couldn't. I was a coward. I couldn't kill myself because if you kill yourself, it's an unforgivable sin, too.
Instead, Howie immersed himself in the religion. He was ready to do anything that would put him in God's good graces. Howie: I wanted to be a pioneer because pioneers were the spiritual people in the congregation. They were the ones that were devoting themselves to the preaching work. The preaching work was what Jehovah God wanted you to do. In , with his family's encouragement, he applied to live and work at headquarters, what Jehovah's Witnesses call Bethel, the House of God. If he got accepted, he would devote all of his time and labor to Jehovah, maybe for the rest of his life.
Howie: I remember being so happy when I got my letter. I was in the ranks. There was no greater honor for a Jehovah's Witness. Howie was just 19 when he said goodbye to his mother and left for New York City. When he got to Bethel, he realized that spiritual cleansing was going to take a lot of work.
Howie: There it is. It looks like the park is on that side, too. I meet up with Howie in Brooklyn, so he can show me around Bethel. As we walk around the street, he tells me what it's like for people who live and work here. Howie: It's cleaning. It's construction. It's the printing. It's working on the presses. It's cleaning the presses. It's working in the kitchen to prepare the food.
It's working in the laundries, enduring the heat and the large loads of laundry, and doing the work. Bethel's not a closed off compound. It's a collection of buildings spread throughout Brooklyn Heights, prime real estate right along the East River. Howie: We see the Statue of Liberty. We see the beautiful skyline, that picturesque skyline with the new Freedom Tower. We see all the beautiful brownstones, that are now worth millions and millions of dollars.
This was my neighborhood. This was my home. This is where I lived. I felt so fortunate. Trey Bundy: This is the nerve center of a multi billion dollar non-profit corporation, a global real estate venture, a massive publishing operation, and a religion with eight million members around the world. To keep the machine running, the Jehovah's Witnesses depend on the unpaid labor of young followers. They're called Bethelites. This is not a place for children. Never has been. It is only intended, Bethel is intended to just get the work done. There's no facility for children.
That has been a big cause for couples to have to leave. It is a risk you take. Obviously, the Bethel doctor prescribes contraceptives for all the sisters because nobody wants to have to go home because of having a child. The Bethelites live in dormitory style housing and they sign a vow of poverty. The religion takes care of their basic needs. For a neighborhood with Jehovah's Witnesses, we really haven't seen many of them on the street.
That's when Howie tells me that this is intentional. Howie: Then, that building is connected by tunnel to the Columbia Heights building. It's connected by tunnel to the Columbia Heights building. All these are connected by underground tunnels. Howie says they built the tunnels, in part, to hide their numbers and the fact that they bought up so much of the neighborhood. I'm looking at all these huge buildings and empty sidewalks, and imagining a subterranean ant farm below us.
Howie has been at Bethel for a year and a half, working menial jobs, still marking that calendar and hiding his sexuality from everyone. That's when the governing body approached him to ask for his help. Most of the leaders there were in their 80's or 90's and needed basic help with basic things like walking and reading their mail. For Howie, it was an enormous, almost unbelievable honor.
Howie: He said to me, "I can walk, but people, if you're in a wheelchair, they listen. Howie: We would approach someone and he would just push a magazine in their face. Then they would accept it or not. Sometimes he would put a little more effort into it. If they said, "I don't want none of this. Why don't you want it? It means everlasting life. Don't you want to live? You can see, it sounds awful now.
12.23 All Along the Watchtower
Looking back, of course, but you believe. You believe in the work. I believed that the work we were doing was important. That it was life saving. Armageddon, the end of the world, the tribulation is imminent. It's going to happen any moment now. The only people to survive are going to be Jehovah's Witnesses, period. Nobody else. Howie and I are about two blocks from the main Watchtower building when we spot someone, a member of the governing body.
Trey Bundy: Now I've sat in Morris' lobby and called him at home, trying to ask him why his organization covers up child abuse. This guy's word is law to eight million Jehovah's Witnesses. It's weird to see him just walking down the street. He sees me coming and crosses the street to get away.
When I catch up to him, I'm out of breath. Trey Bundy: I know, you don't. My name's Trey Bundy. I'm a reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting. I've been writing stories and producing radio stories this year about the Jehovah's Witnesses and child sex abuse. Do you have a second to talk to me? Tony Morris: Not really. I'm going out to preach the good news of the kingdom. He had just released a video where he blames child abuse on homosexuals.
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I asked him about that. Trey Bundy: With that, someone opens a door to a building a few feet away and Morris rushes inside. After calling and emailing the governing body for months with no response, after reading through stacks of their documents, after flying from California to New York, I finally find one of these guys. Seconds later, he's gone. Howie knew these guys as people. Like Carl Kline, the governing body member in the wheelchair. Howie was with him the day his faith began to unravel. He was reading a letter to Kline from Jehovah's Witness, disputing some of the religion's key tenants.
Howie: I thought for sure he would want me to shred it. The shredder was right there next to his desk. This is apostate stuff, for sure. Apostates are enemies of the religion. Jehovah's Witnesses believe they're controlled by Satan. Howie says he and Kline took the letter straight to Bethel's librarian. Trey Bundy: The librarian took the letter to a small, locked room.
Howie: In this room were partially filled bookshelves. It was a small apostate library. Here they kept for reference the various publications of ex-Jehovah's Witnesses that they viewed as apostates. Howie freaked out. There was almost nothing worse a Jehovah's Witness could do than read the writing of an apostate.
Howie: What if our belief system isn't iron clad, as I have always believed? What if, for example, what if we were wrong about the new world? What if I am waiting for a cure that does not exist? Wouldn't that be sad because I've wasted my life. Leaving Bethel meant losing my job and losing my home. It was a struggle at first. Then of course, when I disassociated myself a few months later, it meant losing my family and all of my friends. I was alone. I had to prepare myself. It took time. And I had to prepare myself, and it took time.
Trey Bundy: The next time I meet Howie, we're in his backyard. He lives in New Jersey now with his husband and their two kids. Trey Bundy: A fall breeze hits the wind chimes, and Howie pushes the kids in their little plastic cars. Trey Bundy: They run around the garden and stomp on brown leaves in the driveway. Trey Bundy: He says he feels for people who never left the Jehovah's Witnesses. Howie: My concern is that there's a lot of people wrapped up in this, up in this religion. And they're doing what I did: they're wasting their lives.
And as the years go by, and their hopes or promises are not realized, they may eventually get discouraged and leave, or they may just hang with it because they feel, or are afraid, they have nowhere else to go. Over the last few years, the Jehovah's Witnesses have been selling off their Brooklyn properties and building a massive compound in Warwick, a small town in upstate New York. They plan to move their headquarters completely out of Brooklyn, some time before Up next, Trey heads to England, home to more than a , Jehovah's Witnesses, and he finds a familiar pattern.
I mean, I think that, true to form, the Watchtower's putting up obstructions at every possible turn to refuse to turn over documents. On this episode, we followed reporter Trey Bundy as he's tried to track down this database that the Jehovah's Witnesses are keeping under wraps. Information that could reveal thousand of child sex abusers around the country. Jehovah's Witness leaders at the Watchtower won't talk to Trey, and they refuse to comply with court orders to hand over the child abuse files.
But if authorities know that the Watchtower has these files, why can't the FBI or police just storm the headquarters and take them? Trey joins us now to talk about that. Al Letson: So, before we get into the role of the authorities in uncovering this information, tell me a little bit about how the Jehovah's Witnesses justify keeping this information secret? Trey Bundy: So the Jehovah's Witnesses base all their child abuse policies in scripture. They say all of this comes from the bible.
So, for example, the so-called Two-Witness Rule. They say that nobody's reputation should be ruined, nobody should go to prison, with the testimony of just a single witness. So when they hear an allegation of child abuse, if there's not two witnesses to that crime, they don't do anything about it. That's so problematic, I mean, usually if someone's being abused, there is no two witnesses. There's just one person. Trey Bundy: Right, this is a crime that almost always happens behind closed doors, almost always happens in secret, and that people don't talk about until they're much, much older.
So that means that most of these cases—the vast majority of these cases—don't even reach the level where an elder's going to punish the abuser in the organization, much less call the police. So, even though the Jehovah's Witnesses won't report these abusers, they do keep track of them, which just seems odd that they have all this information, but they won't turn it over. So how can this information just be sitting there, like we know it's there, and no one is doing anything about it?
Trey Bundy: The real question is, where's law enforcement? It would seem like the FBI or the police would be able to get a search warrant and go in. But I've talked to a lot of lawyers about this, and they all say basically the same thing: All the cases that we've talked about, most of the cases of Jehovah's Witnesses in court, are civil cases. If they were a criminal prosecution, then maybe a prosecutor could ask for these documents.
And if they didn't give them up, then law enforcement could jump in with a search warrant. But there's almost no prosecutions of these abusers because the Jehovah's Witnesses don't report them. Now, we heard earlier in the show how frustrating this has been for Irwin Zalkin, the lawyer who's been bringing a bunch of civil cases against the Jehovah's Witnesses.
But I'm curious, how frustrating is this for you as a reporter? Trey Bundy: This case You know, I've been looking at this for two years, and that's a long time to know what's out there and to not be able to actually, you know, get my hands on it and see it for myself. You know, we're talking about the names of possibly thousands of child abuser, and knowing that kids are out there, they could be endangered from these people. It definitely gives us a sense of urgency, and that's why we're still reporting the story.
So the Jehovah's Witnesses are a world-wide organization, but other countries have been pretty aggressive, mainly Australia and the UK. They've really tried to hold them accountable. Recently, you went to England to report on this, so why don't you pick up the story from there. So what's different in England from the US is that there's an actual government agency there that's investigating their policies.
And the issue's gotten national news coverage. Speaker 6: They knock on our doors, but what's happening behind theirs? Britain's Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the end time's coming, but could their financial doomsday come first, as child abuse victims hold them to account. Speaker 7: I now feel that the only way to get the Jehovah's Witnesses to look at their policies and change it for the better is by taking them to court and hopefully, that way, they may then have to think, "Maybe it's time for us to change our policy.
It opened an investigation in and requested documents from the Watchtower's London branch, but they refused to hand them over. Chris Willis P. Trey Bundy: The Charity Commission investigates organizations to make sure they're in compliance with Charity laws, but they have limited power. They can't kick down doors and take documents like law enforcement can.
Kathleen H. That's Kathleen Hallisey. She's an American lawyer living in London, who's handled more Jehovah's Witness cases than anyone in England. She won a high-profile lawsuit last year, in part because the Jehovah's Witnesses gave up documents proving the accused had abused before. Trey Bundy: It's the same strategy that we see here in the US. The Jehovah's Witnesses will sometimes hand over documents in court related to a single victim.
But the vast majority of documents are still locked away. And they could lead authorities directly to predators, people who could still be abusing kids. Kathleen says that "lack of transparency, and the Jehovah's Witness's separatist attitude towards society, make the religion a perfect environment for child abusers.
Limited interaction with the outside world, there's a real emphasis on not engaging with secular authorities. So the conditions are ripe for abuse, and predators are purposeful. And I think that they choose those types of environments very carefully, where they know they can operate with impunity. Unfortunately, the policies of the Watchtower allow them to continue to do that again and again and again. While the Commission in England hasn't released its findings, the government Commission in Australia has had some success. After the Catholic church scandal, they started looking at abuse within other religious organizations.
Last year, the Commission held public hearings on the Jehovah's Witnesses. Here's a Jehovah's Witness elder answering questions about their policies. Irwin Zalkin: What ability we got to take every child in Australia Well, what you can do is you can report to the child protection authorities. And that is done in some cases, but generally it's not done with Now, it's not done unless there's a legal requirement for it to be done [inaudible ].
Investigators in Australia turned up more than 1, alleged abusers. None of those cases have been reported to authorities, but the Commission has referred of them to police. The kind of government investigations happening in the UK and Australia, we haven't seen anything like that here in the US. And that drives Irwin Zalkin crazy; he's the San Diego lawyer we met at the beginning of the show who represents child abuse victims. He thinks law enforcement has a moral obligation to force the Jehovah's Witnesses to hand over their documents that identify alleged child abusers.
But a judge has ordered him to keep them secret. Irwin Zalkin: We keep the materials locked up in that cabinet. Irwin Zalkin: Because it would violate the terms of that protective order, I think. Trey Bundy: If the cops came in here and they didn't have a warrant, you couldn't show them either. Irwin Zalkin: Yeah, I probably would not show them that. Right, they would not be able to They wouldn't get them. Trey Bundy: Right. These are going to stay locked up. They're going to stay secret. They're going to stay redacted. Al Letson: The Jehovah's Witnesses have refused to do an interview with us.
The only thing they gave us was a written statement last year, saying they abhor child abuse and comply with all child abuse reporting laws. Meanwhile, they're just sitting on a database that likely contains the names of thousands of predators, who could still be abusing kids to this day.
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He's been on this story for about two years. Now, if you want to see what it's like to be in a reporter's shoes, you can check out a virtual reality project he put together as he was reporting on this show. You can find that at revealnews. You can also check out what we're covering by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. You should check this one out. It's a place to learn about earning more, saving more, investing wisely, and building the financial life you want. You can find HerMoney on iTunes, Stitcher, or jeanchatzky. Our head of studio is Christa Scharfenberg. Amy Pyle is our editor in chief.
Susanne Reber is our executive editor, and our executive producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme music is by Camerado, Lightning. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. Subscribe to the Reveal podcast today. Sign up for our newsletter. Reveal reporter Trey Bundy has been after a batch of secret documents for more than two years, and now he's closer to them than ever before. Trey Bundy: Are they in this office? Irwin Zalkin: Yes. Trey Bundy: Can you show them to me?
Irwin Zalkin: No. Al Letson: That's attorney Irwin Zalkin. He represents victims of childhood sexual abuse by members of a global religion, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Irwin Zalkin: All I can really say is we have the documents. I can't say what's in them. I can't even reference how many of the documents, how much, numbers, or anything like that. While he can look at them, he can't show them to anyone else, not even the police.
Irwin Zalkin: We literally have to keep those under lock and key. Al Letson: The Jehovah's Witnesses only turned them over on the condition that they remain secret. You see, these files could contain information about thousands of child abusers within the Jehovah's Witnesses, predators living freely in communities across the country. How has this religious group managed to keep these documents and the secrets they contain under wraps for almost 20 years? Before I get going, I should tell you that this episode deals with sexual abuse and might be disturbing for some listeners.
Irwin Zalkin: Come on in. Jose, why don't you have a seat? Let's talk about your case a little bit and see where we're at. Trey Bundy: Irwin's talking to one of his clients, Jose Lopez. Irwin Zalkin: We have the- Trey Bundy: They're combing through documents in a small, generic conference room at Irwin's office.
Jose's in his 30s, and you can hear from his voice, he sounds anxious. Jose Lopez: Yeah. Zalkin, I had a question. What do you think's going to happen after the judge comes forward with her decision? Irwin Zalkin: Yeah. Well, I think that there's a good chance that The Watchtower's going to file an appeal. Trey Bundy: The Watchtower. You're going to hear us use that term a lot. Jose says a man named Gonzalo Campos abused him. Gonzalo was a Jehovah's Witness in San Diego. Jose says Gonzalo groomed him for abuse during Bible study sessions.
Jose Lopez: One time, he sat me in his lap and showed me the book and was talking to me, socializing, being friendly. That's how I really saw it, as him just trying to be more close and friendly with me. We know that because local elders admitted to it. Jose Lopez: The Watchtower or the organization, I think they should have contacted the authorities and had this guy behind bars.
Irwin Zalkin: The Watchtower and its agents, elders of the congregation, its local congregation, Linda Vista, Spanish congregation of the Jehovah's Witnesses knew that they had a dangerous child sexual predator within their organization. Trey Bundy: Not only did they fail to call the police, they actually promoted Gonzalo to the position of elder after they learned about the abuse.
Irwin Zalkin: At that time, that entire time frame, he was abusing at least eight children that we know of, that we know of. Trey Bundy: Irwin knows the abuse happened because Gonzalo admitted to it during a court deposition back in In it, the Jehovah's Witness lawyer is interviewing Gonzalo through an interpreter. Gonzalo Campos: [foreign language ]. Speaker 6: I had problems with Speaker 7: When you say, "Tried to touch him inappropriately," you mean in a sexual manner? Gonzalo Campos: Si.
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Speaker 6: Yes. Speaker 7: Okay. Did the elders talk to you after this incident had taken place? Speaker 6: I remember that they did. Trey Bundy: Local leaders knew Gonzalo had abused kids. They reported that to Jehovah's Witness headquarters in Brooklyn, but not to the police. He'd made news for taking on another religion over child sex abuse, the Catholic church. He started getting calls from people saying they had been abused in all sorts of institutions, like universities and the Boy Scouts. Irwin Zalkin: When you, as a human being, see the amount of harm that abuse, in particular sexual abuse, does to a child, it derails them for the rest of their life.
It will be with them forever, and it impacts them at every stage of their life, and it's horrible. Trey Bundy: When he's not in court, Irwin looks more like a college professor than a lawyer, slim with glasses, wears jeans to work. He's soft-spoken when he's describing the intricacies of a case, but get him going on child abuse, and his voice drops like a sledgehammer, a perfect tool for cross-examining witnesses.
Trey Bundy: Because the abuse isn't reported to police when it happens, most of the abusers are never prosecuted and never go to jail. The Jehovah's Witnesses' secrecy around child abuse is part of their religion. They say the Bible tells them to keep authorities in the dark about child abuse. This is probably a good time to explain more about this religion. Part of their faith is spreading the word of God to others, knocking on doors, warning people about Armageddon. Speaker 8: Sickness and death. Poverty and disaster.
When they say, "Evil one," they mean Satan. Speaker 8: The good news is the Bible says things will not always be like this. They don't vote or serve in the military, and they usually don't go to college. Speaker 8: Where can we find answers? What if the answers have been lit up all along in the Bible? Trey Bundy: They say the Bible teaches them that child abuse, child abuse, is a confidential matter. They read like a mashup of corporate policy and Bible verse, and they tell elders to hide child sexual abuse from police.
Here's what they tell them to do. First, when elders learn about abuse, they have to immediately call The Watchtower's legal department, no one else, not law enforcement, not other members of their congregations. Irwin Zalkin: Written, demanded, commanded policy, very different. The Catholic church, it was this unwritten. Their flaws are what make them such memorable characters. The ending to their story was perfect and I am genuinely interested in what next this series has to offer. The hot romance between Zeke and Beks is definitely not to be missed.
Thanks to Michelle Madow for once more creating a world that's nice to get lost in. I recommend Demon Kissed to every paranormal fan out there, You'll love it. S: Apart from the fact that the cover is so freaking breathtaking, I admire the symbolism which is perfect with the story. Oct 21, Chrissie rated it really liked it.
This was the best book by Michelle that I've read so far. And now all I want is for more of this world she has created. The plot of this one is insanely good, and there are some twists that make this one great story. If you love books with Angels and Demons, then this is one book you need to pick up immediately. Now, I guess you need to know why this one has only 4 stars if I loved it so much? Well, there are times when Michelle has a tendency to repeat information a lot, to ensure we don't forge This was the best book by Michelle that I've read so far.
Well, there are times when Michelle has a tendency to repeat information a lot, to ensure we don't forget it. It can get somewhat annoying. But, other than that, I really loved reading this book. The main protagonist is well developed and you definitely root for the romance in this one. It is epic and beautiful and transcends time. There are also great moments of friendship, although you might not see some of it coming. As I've read the Greek myth series by Michelle, called the Elemental series, I can say that her writing style has improved so much and her story-telling is a lot better as well.
There are some small things that still need improving but that will always be there for all authors. Read this if you loved Twilight, The Hunger Games, and supernatural anything Oct 19, Kayla rated it it was amazing. First of all, I just want to say thank you to Michelle Madow for giving me an ARC of this book to read in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter the opinion. It's probably my favorite Michelle Madow book to date, which is seriously saying something because I loved her Elementals series.
I seriously could not put this book down. I didn't want to stop reading it even First of all, I just want to say thank you to Michelle Madow for giving me an ARC of this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I didn't want to stop reading it even to sleep and all day while I was teaching, I was anticipating the moment when I could go home and read this book some more.
Fast paced doesn't even accurately describe this book. I loved Rebekah's character. She was compassionate and thoughtful. Ezekiel was intense and a little scary at times, but he was also sexy and sweet. I loved Rebekah and Zeke together!
The ending was perfect! Demon Kissed is a standalone book, but it's also part of a series. I will definitely have to check out the other books in this series. If you're looking for a fun and fast paced read that features angels and demons then you definitely need to read this one! Nov 04, Jemimah Zafoune rated it it was amazing.
So this book made me feel many things whilst reading it. First, I love books about demons as I love reading a story about how they fight the darkness and the evil for that one person they love. Those are always my favourite kind of stories, a bad boy doing anything to win the woman who he's fallen for. This book has that and oh my did it make me equal in excitement. The bad, bad demon King Ezekiel is one hot demon but there definitely is a dark side to him that did take me some working at some p So this book made me feel many things whilst reading it.
The bad, bad demon King Ezekiel is one hot demon but there definitely is a dark side to him that did take me some working at some points to get past. But I think that maybe that's what I enjoyed about this story so much, the fact that the author wasn't afraid to show that this character is evil and the question is can he be redeemed? I did enjoy this book and was surprised with the ending and loved it. I hope to see more from this world in the future and hopefully some more of the characters in this book pop up too. Definitely a five star read for me. Oct 29, Pauline Anne rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy.
Another winner from Ms Madow, maybe her best to date. A standalone YA fantasy with a hint of dystopian, part of the 'Watchtower' series , written by various authors. This time the main characters are angels and fallen angels demons. Rebekah is an angel on a mission. She has to kill the demon king Ezekeil in order to break a curse. This involves descending on earth and ta Thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review, this doesn't in any way influence my opinion on it. This involves descending on earth and taking possession of a human.
Dystopian elements - king is something of a tyrant. Get on his bad side and you end up a pile of ashes!! Other one -humans are divided into castes. Each caste has a different coloured tattoo , showing their place in society. Gold being the wealthiest blue, being the labourers with red, green and silver in between. Of course, the mission won't be easy. A gripping read which will have you on the edge of your seat! Ideal for Divergent and Hunger Games fans. Oct 12, Stephanie Villere rated it it was amazing.
This is Demon Kissed a page turner written by Michelle Madow. I really enjoyed this book! It pulled me in tightly from the very beginning and left me guessing the entire way through! It has a crazy plot and I was forced to stay up all night to read until I reached the exciting conclusion. How do Angels and Demons act around each other? Can they develop feelings for other? Rebekah is sent to earth to complete a mission. Thing go drastically wrong when she meets her knight Ezekiel rules the lands with an iron fist until Rebekah arrives in his city.
Will the handsome stranger be able to save her? Is it possible to save a demon, or will he just drag her down into demon-hood? I would LOVE another book in this setting! I received a complimentary advance readers copy and voluntarily chose to leave this review. Oct 29, Tiffany rated it really liked it. Demon Kissed. A fallen angel doomed to be a demon who feels the pull of death.
That pull so powerful, it's not something he can stop. Once that pull is activated, someone will die Are demons capable of love Rebekah has been sent to earth with a very important mission. Kill the demon King and break the curse of greed over mankind. Her angel mindset struggles with her new realities and doubts her abilities to figure out how to accomplish this mission bestowed on her. She w Demon Kissed. She will have to find a witch to trust and help her on this mission, yet they are rumored to be extinct. Start the rollercoaster to find out just what life has in store for those within Demon Kissed.
Apr 17, Abeer rated it did not like it Shelves: ouch-that-hurt , minority , meh. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Like his fuck buddy saw him more just saying Oct 15, Mandy Stump rated it it was amazing. I received a ARC copy of this book for an honest review. This book was fantastic. Loved the story with angels and demons. Love how she started to fall in love with him. This was the perfect love story with many challenges.
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Really enjoyed this book. Oct 28, Melonie rated it it was amazing Shelves: first-reads. A demon and an angel This novel turned out to be quite a treat. The more I read the more it kept me guessing how it would end. Full of surprises. Oct 27, Richard Goodrum rated it it was amazing. This is a frustratingly fascinating love story. A story that required immense skill to write. I hope that you enjoy t as well. I was provide this book as an ARC; however, the review is my honest opinion.
Oct 22, Linda rated it really liked it Shelves: from-authors. This is the first standalone book of Michelle's that I've read. As always, a very engaging read. I'm most impressed with how she can create such endearing characters that you bond with almost immediately. Nov 06, Topsues rated it really liked it. I am a fan of this author, with what she has accomplished in previous books I've read, she has again produced another exemplary novel. Her imagination appears to know no bounds when it comes to story writing. Not only can she come up with original thoughts, it's the way she excels at transcribing the plots and feelings surrounding them.
I had originally felt " oh yeah another demon fights for love story" as there are a lot of these common types of books around, but I assure you this one can't be I am a fan of this author, with what she has accomplished in previous books I've read, she has again produced another exemplary novel. I had originally felt " oh yeah another demon fights for love story" as there are a lot of these common types of books around, but I assure you this one can't be thrown in amongst them. The reason being, you can't take away from this author, her limitless supply of originality.
She has managed to take darkness, betrayal, death, hell, oblivion and mix it with light, faithfulness, loyalty, determination, protection and love. This story contains both sides of the coin. The characters she cast to carry this, all had different strengths that complimented each other. It was told in the first person of the main female lead, which is a style I prefer, as you get to feel all her feelings as if they was your own, that is a skill set not all authors can accomplish. I don't like leaving spoilers, but my heart rose and crashed through most of this book. It was like a rollercoaster ride, where you want to cover your eyes, as you don't want to see what's over the next Hill, but you can't stop the feel of exhilaration at every twist and turn.
This is a stand alone book. There are a few very mild sexual scenes. I would definitely recommend this to any fantasy book lover. May 15, Kat rated it it was amazing. Absolutely loved this book. Hot and heart felt at the same time. Wish there was more! This is awful. They fall in love with each other for zero reason. Ezekiel is more like a preteen boy rather than alpha male. And what's with him killing girls for no reason? To expel his darkness? And he feels no remorse! And yet, Rebecka loves him. She's so meek and submissive. Honestly not impressed. It would've been way more interesting if she actually defied him.
Nov 09, Seraphia rated it it was amazing Shelves: arc-shelf , dystopian , supernatural , angels , awesome , magic , romance , demons , fiction , paranormal. Rebekah is a messenger angel who is being sent to Earth with one mission — recover the lost flaming sword of Uriel and kill Ezekiel, the Demon King.
Now Rebekah must go down, find it and save everyone enslaved because of it and the curse utilized. Demon Kissed is a book that flows at a steady pace throughout the story. Rebekah is a messenger angel and she is determined to succeed at her task. That is the last thing that she wants to happen to her. All she has to do is become part of her human host, not be discovered and survive to take out the Demon King.
She loses herself at times in the story because she allows her naivety to cloud her better judgment in certain moments. But early on in the story the surprises start coming in unexpected ways. I enjoyed reading this book but there were moments of where I found myself frowning because of Rebekah. I say this because very quickly she starts making mistakes that hint that something is different about her to people who know the REAL Adriana all too well.
This story definitely has some surprises and some twists. Some you will see coming and others you will only have a hint as to what is going to happen next. I enjoyed this book very much. For me, it was like a dark and twisted version of Cinderella. Except Prince Charming is a Demon King and Cinderella is an angel masquerading as a human with one agenda only to fall in love and wish to live happily ever after. This is a book that I absolutely enjoyed and found very hard to put down as I wanted to know what happened next. If you are a fan of Michelle Madow this is definitely a book to pick up and read.
If you love paranormal romances and books with happy endings then this is definitely a book to pick up and enjoy. I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. Job well done to the author on another great novel. Jan 16, Rachel rated it did not like it. I can not believe how bad this book was. I mean And the love interest?! Or, perhaps, not quite as detailed in the derangement.
So that was WOW!! So that was really annoying in its lack of originality. I would never, ever recommend this book. We seriously need the option of 0 stars. Or, I suppose 1 is simply for the fact that there was work put into this in that words were put on paper. But it was truly sick and twisted and asinine. Perhaps it is an early work. Dec 05, Fiona Leung rated it really liked it Shelves: reviewed , kindle , highly-rated. Demon Kissed by Michelle Madow is a standalone read from the Watchtower series. It's quite different from the other Michelle Madow books but not a bad thing; I really enjoyed reading Demon Kissed.
Rebekah is a messenger angel sent to Earth on a mission. Our villain here is Ezekiel who is a fallen angel. Rebekah must try and get close to Ezekiel to complete her mission. On the way there, she was met with many challenges and when she finally met Ezekiel, she was in for the shock of her life. Overall, it was a really enjoyable read. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book Dec 30, Melinda rated it it was amazing.